Use Of Social Codes In 'A Good Man Is Hard To Find'

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Good: Is the Perception Distorted? In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," Flannery O'Connor depicts a seemingly normal road trip of a mother, father, grandmother, and three children. The family begins their trip by going through their home state of Georgia to end in Tennessee. They begin to visit a mansion when the car flips causing the family to become injured. A stranger arrives who seems friendly at first then slowly kills every member of the family off one by one. O’Connor's characters, mainly the grandmother, reflect an unusual understanding of the word "good." The grandmother believes herself to be "good" or ladylike because she is proper and holds to social codes of the Old South. Because of the grandmother's actions, her descriptions of …show more content…
In both time periods, society has standards that most people follow. If people follow theses social codes then they are viewed as "good" by others in their community. In this story, the main codes that are followed are those of the Old South. These codes deem a person "good." The grandmother follows these standards, so she will be designated a "good" person. The codes are based upon a person’s outward appearance although the codes should be based upon a person’s inner thoughts and feelings. The grandmother's attitude is one that many people possessed in her time period. She thinks because she wears a "navy blue straw sailor hat" and "navy blue dress" that she is a "good" person (O’Connor). Additionally, all people in the Old South were expected to be religious. In turn, this mean that a person is honest; however, the grandmother influences her family into traveling to Tennessee instead of Florida. Her reasoning is so the children will "see different parts of the world and be broad" (O’Connor). However, the real reason the grandmother wants to journey to Tennessee is to visit her connections. She does not care what the children want: she is self-centered and cares for herself. This subtle action reveals the grandmother is a manipulative and deceitful person which is the complete opposite of the "good" person that she strives to become. Nevertheless, the grandmother implies that her unnamed daughter-in-law is not "good" through the description that she gives her. The grandmother states that "the children’s mother still had on slacks and still had her head tied up in a green kerchief" (O’Connor). The use of the word "still" creates a impression that the grandmother is waiting for her daughter-in-law to change her appearance in order to become "good" according to the social codes of the Old South. This social codes creates a false impression upon characters in the story, mainly the

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